Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain

The Royal Botanic Gardens is a place of natural beauty, where people come for peace, relaxation, education, and to learn more about plants and horticulture. The surrounding parkland of the Domain is a place for sport, entertainment and recreation. The National Herbarium of NSW — Centre for Plant Conservation & Research — is located within the Royal Botanic Gardens.


The Royal Botanic Gardens covers 30 hectares in a spectacular setting on the shores of Sydney Harbour with 10 960 plant groups from Australia and overseas on display.

The Domain, a popular recreation area, extends over 34 hectares and its playing fields, lawns and paths are used daily by city workers and tourists.

It all began in 1788 when Australia’s first farm, Farm Cove, was established by Governor Phillip. In 1816 the Botanic Gardens of Sydney was founded on this site by Governor Macquarie as part of the Governor’s Domain. Charles Fraser was appointed as the first Colonial Botanist in 1817, establishing the Botanic Gardens as the oldest scientific institution in Australia.

The National Herbarium of NSW, housed in the Robert Brown Building and built in 1982, is a major centre for Australian plant research. The extensive collection of nearly one million preserved specimens (dating back to plants collected by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander in 1770) provide reference material for studies of our native plants, their relationships and classification. Research includes field studies, DNA sequencing and scanning electron microscopy. Ecological research involves mapping and describing plant communities and studying factors that affect their survival.

The Herbarium provides a Botanical information service, including plant identifications and a public reference collection for native plant identifications. Open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 1 pm (closed public holidays), phone 02-9231 8155.

The Library houses one of the most extensive collections of botanical, horticultural and ecological books, magazines, videos, photographs and publications, as well as material on related topics. The Library is only available for bona fide research work and appointments should be made with the Librarian, phone 02-9231 8152.